I have felt the urge to write a letter to all of you expressing my love. The idea has been marinating for awhile now in my conscious awareness and a few things prompted it a month ago. This letter has been practically writing itself because of the flow of love I feel pulsating through my heart and long to share with you through my words.
As a sensitive mother to four boys it has been quite a journey has it not? Boys who are now grown men and fathers to 12 of my favorite little people. You all are quite remarkable human beings. We don't always take the opportunity often enough to tell each other what is in our hearts. Allow me to offer you a bit of what is in mine.
While I was out walking today on this beautiful, sunny, gorgeous, fall day, it came to me fully. Words and love flow in divine timing. Today is the 6th anniversary of my own mother's passing and I am in a great place in my life to write and to share.
I loved my mom. I miss her sunny disposition, calm strength, and her physical presence. She is still with me in spirit and she is in mighty fine company, I might add. There are things I wished I had asked her while she was alive, but they were questions that didn't come up until after she was gone. I guess that is the nature of life and how it goes when someone you love dies. We always want more time with them. There may always be things I want to know about her or words I long to hear, but I have no regrets or unfinished business with my mother.
In the spirit of a mother's love, there is no time like the present moment to say what I wanted to say to all of my boys while I am still here. You are loved by me (and your father) beyond measure and we are incredibly proud of each one of you. You are each unique, have much to offer this world, and are magnificent human beings as well as being old souls. I love your sense of adventure, your love for music, and your humor. Laughing is great medicine and you can all make me laugh out loud.
One of the characteristics I love most of all is the fact that you are all wonderful fathers and your children love you dearly. As you have all experienced and have come to know quite intimately, life and parenting in particular are not always easy. At times they are both downright challenging on all levels...mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and financially. Being a parent is the hardest job you will ever have and one that will bring you to your knees on more than one occasion and stretch your patience beyond anything you ever thought possible. It is also the greatest job you will ever come to love. I never knew how much I could love until I became a stepmother and a mother to all of you.
Life is filled with ups and downs, ins and outs, and everything in-between. We are creating our lives with every choice we make. Listen to your heart and hear what your soul has to share with you. Trust it will guide you to the truth of who you are at your core and show you which way to turn when you are unsure. Take the time to be silent and listen to the wisdom that lies within. Or hey, here's an idea, call me!
Your dad and I fell in love after we became very good friends working together. We did not set out to fall in love, it happened. Perhaps, I have come to understand now, it was written in the stars long before we were born into this life. We could talk and laugh for hours about anything and everything. We trusted each other and we had great respect for one another.
It felt dangerous to gaze into each other's eyes for we could see directly into the other's soul. I knew that he would be the one to hold my hand, pick me up when I fell down, and walk with me through anything life had to offer. Of this I was not wrong. He is all of those things and so much more. We have become quite a team in this life. I am incredibly grateful for him, all of you, and our family. I had no idea at the time what we would experience in this life together and how incredibly prophetic that knowing I had so many years ago has become. Trust the knowing in your hearts it will always guide you to the truth that lies before you, but it is your job to listen for the nudges and follow them.
We have been there for each other and for each of you during great times of celebration and times of unbelievable challenge. Getting together and eventually getting married was not an easy choice for either of us to make and it was not a choice we made lightly. It took a great deal of effort and a leap of faith, because we knew that not everyone would be pleased with our decision and we might lose friends a long the way. But we have been going strong for nearly 39+ years. We made the choice to love each other every day, to forgive each other, and to be grateful for everything. Our love is stronger today than we ever could have imagined or dreamt it could be.
I wrote at the beginning of this letter that there was more than one thing that prompted this letter to be written. I know that things happen in life for a reason. We do not always see the hidden gifts in life that have the ability to transform us whether through divorce, a dispute, a test, or a crisis. The road in life is not straight. Everything in your life cannot be planned or scheduled no matter how hard you might want to try to control how life happens. Allow it to unfold naturally there is freedom in the power of surrender and in the mysteries. Situations in life happen to get our attention and shake us from our reverie when we have become complacent. We don't want to sleepwalk through our lives or to be on automatic pilot. The universe will give you a wake-up call.
A month ago, I was challenged by something one of you said to me. It was an off-the-cuff remark that unbeknownst to you, pierced my heart. There was no time at the moment to discuss what was said and why it was said. You needed to be somewhere and I needed to flee because I felt the tears begin to overflow and could not be contained.
I felt hurt and I searched for meaning on my drive home as I cried on and off all afternoon and into the evening when dad got home. I was still feeling a bit down when we decided to watch a romantic comedy. It was a new movie on Netflix called, Love at First Sight. It was just what the Angel love doctors prescribed for me. I laughed. I cried. Most importantly, it allowed me the space to feel everything I was feeling and to put things back into some perspective. The movie was funny, honest, and held a deeper meaning about love and life and the complexity of our relationships with our parents.
The movie is about fate. A young woman (Hadley) misses her flight to London from New York and ends up meeting a young man (Oliver) from London who is currently living in the United States while attending university. She is going to her father's wedding and she has never met his fiancé. She is trying to understand why her parents got divorced the year before. The young man is going to London to give a eulogy for his mother at her celebration of life.
Ever since I was a kid, my dad would watch British Television. I was not a fan, but I have become a fan over the years because they remind me of my father who passed away in 2014. The young couple falling in love was lovely and reminded me of how I fell in love with your dad. It made me think of the things we did when we were young and how fast time flies. Never take your youth, health, and love for granted.
There was a plot twist in the movie about the celebration of life for Oliver's mother. She was still alive and wanted to attend the celebration so people could tell her to her face how much they loved her and to say goodbye in person. What a brilliant, honest, and heart-wrenching idea. The movie evoked deep feelings and unearthed this longing in me to tell you all again and again and again how much I love you.
I cannot imagine or even fathom how difficult it would be to tell you that I was dying. I absolutely love each and every one of you with my whole being. Every cell of me went into raising you. I became a stepmother first. I was not going to be one of the stereotypical stepmothers portrayed in fairy tales, movies, and books as an evil one. I wanted to be the best stepmother and mother to you boys that I could be. I tried my best. Did I fail at times and make mistakes a long the way? Yes, of course I did. We are not here to be perfect parents or perfect children...there is no such thing. We are here to evolve, experience life, and to create a life from a place of love.
Growing up in a family with twelve children, as you can imagine, there was not enough of anything. There was not enough love, attention, affection, acknowledgement, or material goods. I wanted to offer a different upbringing for you boys than what I had experienced. I wanted you to have a voice when I had none.
Life is a beautiful journey filled with unknown twists, turns, ups and downs. Look for the love in everything. Experience the joy in what comes next...the possibilities are endless. You have the freedom to choose from a place of trust in the unknown. When you are caught off-guard by crisis or heartache. Be courageous and stand strong in the knowing that you are enough and can face anything and everything that unfolds in your life. Live your life to the fullest. Learn the power of forgiveness. Love whole heartedly. Be grateful for each and every breath you take.
Remember to enjoy your life. Play, laugh, dance, listen to music, try new things. When you talk to someone look them in their eyes and listen without interrupting...you just might learn something new. Be honest and tell the truth. Pay attention to your kids. They have so much to teach you about being present, honest, and feeling their feelings. They can read your emotions like a book. They know when you are telling the truth or not.
I want to remind all of you there is a power and energy to every word spoken. Words have the power to hurt and/or to heal. I beg you to pause before you react and when you speak to choose your words carefully and mindfully. When words are spoken out of anger, frustration, and misunderstanding they lead to more of the same. Love the people in your life for who they are and they will become the people you love. I love you.